Friday, 1 March 2013

Do Branded baby and toddler items equal quality and value for money?

Does brand mean quality?

If you’re a first time parent and have signed up to various email lists and company promotions or buy Baby Magazines you will notice that you are bombarded with images of cute babies who use branded goods such as Johnson’s baby wipes. Soon you are sucked into the illusion that to have a happy and clean baby branded goods are the way to go. It’s like when you buy a branded pizza versus store own brand; you feel the branded one will offer more cheese and toppings for your buck.

Supermarkets though have twigged; it may have taken them a while to sort it out but now Supermarkets are giving brands a run for their money.

When I was pregnant with baby one (Munchy) I stockpiled on wipes. I never predicted I would need hundreds of wipes due to sickness but there you go; it was a wise decision and we’re still reaping the reward (I have around 18 packs of wipes left as I type this entry). I was a novice parent; I looked at Magazines, and around me and noticed Baby events often meant offers on big brands so I thought that must mean they are quality; after all boxes were literally flying off the shelves at higher prices than the Supermarket versions. I assumed that a Brand name automatically meant the best on the market.

Now I want to be clear and frank with you; I regret buying certain brands because quite frankly they sucked big time. The brand I am about to name and shame is Johnson’s Baby Wipes-drier than a Sahara desert. What you want in a wipe is a moist soft disposable and of course not full of chemicals. What you don’t want is Johnson’s wipes. So there. Rant over.

Most Supermarkets offer two tiers of wipes and nappies. The lower tier is cheap and cheerful; however I wouldn’t recommend them. The wipes are often dry, and the nappies need changing more than the regular branded ones and don’t hold as much as you would expect a nappy to.

You then have what I would call the ‘premium’ Supermarket branded items. Those are the ones that are packaged nicely (often look similar to the branded items) and are worthy competitors of branded items.

I will review the items I have tried; feel free to try the other Supermarket own brands and let me know the outcomes.

What we previously used:

Pampers nappies (up to the age of six months) then we started using Huggies (up until 6 months ago). We initially swapped to Huggies as we were looking at an affordable alternative. Plus I’d read horror stories about Pampers and the ingredients used in it. So I’ve changed to a store own brand and below is a summary of my findings based on six months use.

What we have swapped to:

Nappies: we are using Tesco’s own brand (Tesco loves baby ultra dry economy pack £5.97 for 48). They work out cheaper than Huggies (which are soon to go off the market in England).

This is what the Branded Nappies in a similar size cost:

Pampers active fit size 4+ jumbo pack of 66 nappies £12.99-work out at 20 pence per nappy

What we like about them in comparison to previous used nappies:

  • Hold just as much as expensive branded items

  • We’ve had no complaints of soreness or nappy rash

  • No leaks (yes!)

  • The tags are strong and can be repositioned without coming off

  • There affordable-working out at 12 pence per nappy

  • We earn Tesco Clubcard points

  • They have cute owl motives on which little one likes

  • Tesco run offers on their own brand nappies-perfect for stocking up

  • And when our little one is potty trained (And that will hopefully be soon) Tesco also do their own version of the infamous 'pull up pants'

Wipes-a Mothers best friend

We used Johnson’s wipes-which we regret. Wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. Not even as wipes for a pet.

We also tried Pampers wipes which we found better. The wipes we eventually settled on (out of the branded ones) were Huggies. They were moist, durable and affordable when on special offer or at the end of the Asda Baby Event by when the multi packs of wipes are reduced down to around the £2.50 mark (in comparison to other branded goods).

The brand we have swapped to: Mamio at Aldi 79 pence for a pack of 80. Available in both scented and sensitive.

Mamio wipes are a buzz word in mummy circles; after all they won the Mother and Parenting gold award in 2012. And what’s more there super affordable-they work out at less than one pence a wipe compared to Huggies pack of 63 wipes at £2.39 which work out at above 3 pence a wipe.

What we like about these wipes:

  • They are soft and durable-they tackle poo, baby sick and ice cream equally well.

  • The packaging is easy to use-there’s no sticky label to constantly replace as the package comes with a durable plastic cap/dispenser similar to the ones on Simple wipe packs

  • The packaging is easy on the eye-you cannot tell they are a store own brand which is a blessing for the brand lovers amongst us (you know who you are)

  • There super affordable-less than 1 pence a wipe

  • There available in a scented version (the scent is mild and pleasant) and sensitive for the ones who prefer to be safe than sorry


I have tried Tesco and Aldi own brands, but to be clear there are many other alternatives on the market. Asda's 'Little Angels' range has also won awards. Sainsburys also have their own label items as have Morrisions.

So my conclusion is Branded goods no longer mean better quality than store own brands and Supermarkets are all after your money so will ‘up’ their quality to fit in with modern parent expectations.

I think it’s a case of personal trial and error; and at the prices Supermarkets offer you stand to gain more than you lose. Look out for own brand items on offer to make an experimental trying even lighter on your wallet.

I want to try own brand items where do I start?

If you want more help on choosing own brand items here are a few starting pointers:
  • Ask parents in online Forums for their recommendations

  • Look out for products that have received awards-magazines don’t give out awards for items that are inferior in quality.

  • Ask parent friends for their recommendations. If you already have children you could ask parents at your local playgroup and find out what works for them.

  • Remember what works for someone else’s child may not work for yours

Whatever you choose to do; choose and use the brands and items that work for your child. There really isn’t any shame in using Supermarket own brand items and with incentives such as Tesco Clubcard points and Boots Advantage points there’s a lot to be gained from shopping around. Plus if you over purchase own brand items you can usually exchange them for a size up (as long as the items are sealed and the packaging is clean you shouldn’t have an issue in exchanging them.

Happy shopping guys. Let me know if you find any great Supermarket own brands that are worth shouting about.

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